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What Regular Gals Can Learn from Pro Athletes Like Lance Armstrong

Today’s post is courtesy of a special guest writer, Peter Park, who is the strength and conditioning coach for Lance Armstrong (!) and fitness contributor for LIVESTRONG.COM.

With summer in full swing, I understand that health and fitness routines sometimes take a back seat to barbecues and pool parties. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few tips for staying in shape this summer.

What Goes In

Seventy percent of looking and feeling good is diet. It doesn’t have to be a four-letter-word, if you think of it in terms of food choices. Nothing is forbidden, but be mindful of what you’re eating.

Small bites add up to a lot of extra calories. Whenever I am training someone, whether I’m training a celebrity or client at my gym, I always suggest keeping a food log to determine where unnecessary calories are sneaking in. Lance Armstrong uses MyPlate, a calorie and fitness tracker on LIVESTRONG.COM.

The majority of your diet should consist of unprocessed, healthy foods. Load up on fruit, vegetables, lean meats and nuts. Eat carbohydrates in proportion to your activity—if you are very active and doing an hour or more of activity per day, add more whole grains to your diet to fuel your workouts.

Time your meals for performance. The best time to eat your carbs is after a strenuous workout. Fifteen to 20 grams of protein and 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrates will do wonders for your recovery.

Feel the Burn

Many people avoid working out because they don’t have a gym membership. However, did you know that 99 percent of people do not need equipment to work out?

The key to a successful fitness routine—even for pro athletes like Lance—is breaking it down into manageable parts for your lifestyle. Start by setting aside just 20 to 30 minutes, two to three times a week for cardio intervals. Run hills outside. Grab a jump rope. Keep moving, and keep it consistent!

When Lance isn’t cycling, he stays fit and healthy with a weight and circuit training set, using his own body weight. Below are five activities that show results and help build muscle to prevent injury. Best of all, they can be completed in less than 10 minutes!

5 Moves to Train Like Lance

1. The Chair Pose. This works the lower back and hamstrings. Stand with your feet six inches apart, knees slightly bent and hips pushed back. With arms extended above head as high as possible, keep weight in your heels and hold for 30 seconds.

2. The Glute Bridge. This moves targets the buttocks. Begin by lying on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees. With feet flat on the floor, lift hips as high as possible while squeezing the glute muscles. Hold for 15 seconds, and repeat. (This exercise is so perfect for FBG Jenn!)

3. The Wall Squat. This endurance squat builds leg muscle. Start by pressing your back flat against a wall. With feet shoulder width apart and arms extended above head, bend your knees until they reach 90 degrees. Hold for 45 seconds. Feel the burn!

4. The Negative Push-Up. This “negative” move only does positive things for your arm strength. Start on the ground in a plank position (if you’ve never done plank, see the exercise below for instructions). Slowly lower your body to the ground, holding strong through the core. The negative push-up (focusing on the movement down instead of the push up) should take 15 seconds from top to bottom in a constant slow motion. So-called negative weight training does a doozy on creating new muscles.

5. The Plank—The plank is notorious for working the abs and core muscles. Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your toes touching the floor. With elbows directly under your shoulders and forearms flat on the ground, lift your hips in the air until your body is parallel to the floor in a push-up position. Squeeze glutes and brace abdominals for 30 seconds, lower and repeat.

A big thanks to Peter for sharing his nutrition and fitness tips and moves with us! For more of his tips on how to stay fit and feel good, visit LIVESTRONG.COM.  —Jenn

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